Howtos, Rants, and Reviews
November 2010 - Posts
Comcast Demands Toll from Netflix Networking Company Level 3 - And so it begins!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 12:41 PM
There has been a lot of talk on the internet about Net Neutrality and for those of you who don't know is a principle that states that internet service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. That being said, we are beginning to see signs of Net Neutrality starting to break down all around us.
Comcast is a most recent example with their demands to have Level 3, the networking company that provides Netflix streaming to it's customers, pay a recurring fee for the transmission of Netflix's videos. After negotiations with Comcast coming to a close Level 3 has agreed to pay the fees to prevent an interruption in service.
This is a big deal for any company trying to sell a streaming service, and for Net Neutrality. Comcast of course has tried to steer the discussion away from Net Neutrality to more toward a discussion of the amount of strain the Level 3 networks places on Comcast's servers. Even though Netflix does pull a lot of traffic due to their instant watch streaming service, I still don't think they should have to pay more to have their information provided to their customers.
Comcast claims that Level 3 has taken advantage of the free traffic exchange and is pushing the burden of massive traffic growth onto Comcast and they don't think it's fair. Well is doesn't matter who is right in the matter because Level 3 is taking the matter to the government to see if they can get Comcast to back down. Will be interesting to see if they will allows the Comcast/NBC merger to happen considering Comcast's lack of respect for Net Neutrality.
Ge.tt - A Real-Time File Sharing Webservice
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 11:08 AM
I am a big fan of file sharing tools like Dropbox and Sugarsync. These web tools are great but aren't always the easiest for sharing with people who don't already have the service. One of the more annoying things about online file sharing websites is that you have to wait until the file is uploaded to share the link and for the person to have access to the download. Not so with Ge.tt!
Ge.tt allows you to select a file, or simply drag and drop it for supported browsers, which then starts the file uploading. You can then copy the paste the download link and send it to the recipient. The person who is going to download it can actually start downloading it before the upload is complete, eliminating your the upload wait time. You can also add more files to the same share link you sent previously that will show up on their side automatically without reloading the page or disturbing the download.
With a free account your shares will last longer and you can views stats on your files like number of downloads and views. I am not sure if there is a file size upload limit, but I have tried uploading files larger than a 1GB and they have uploaded successfully, so it's safe to say it can be used in most situations.
Try it out Ge.tt is free
Slingplayer for iPad - Brings your cable TV to your iPad
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 1:02 PM
For those of you who have a Slingbox, a device that can stream your cable over the internet, you can now get the SlingPlayer app for the iPad. The application can stream your cable right on your iPad ovevr Wi-Fi or 3G. This is big news for SlingBox owners because it basically turns your iPad into a portable TV that that has access to all your channels and local news at home.
The down site to the app is that it's not a universal app so you have to purchase it on both the iPhone and the iPad, and $30 a pop is a little painful. If you have an iPad I don't know why you would want to watch it on your iPhone.
SlingPlayer @ App Store
Aviary Does it again with a HTML5 Image Editor
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 12:17 PM
Aviary, for those of you who don't know, is known for releasing some awesome internet tools for editing and creation. Tools like image editors, music creators, screen capture, audio editors, drawing programs and more. All these tools are available online and are great for people who want good tools for free with no installation required.
Aviary has done it again with a simplified HTML5 version of their Image Editor. It's a simple and quick way to edit images right on the web. You can even embed the tool on your website, so users of your site can edit photos using the tool without having to leave your site.
The tool has basic tools like rotate, flip, resize, and crop. The HTML5 editor also offers redeye tools, blemish corrector, color adjusters, brightness, contrast and saturation tools. They also offer a couple fun little options like fun filters and stickers which allow you to place fun little cartoon objects into the picture.
You can can do all this with a simple HTML5 embed that you can put on your site. You can of course use the one already implemented over at
. The editor is pretty useful and could save you time when you're on the go or simply don't feel like firing up Photoshop.
GateGuru - Think Yelp but for your Airport Terminal
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:45 AM
If you travel a lot you know the pains of being stuck in an airport terminal with nothing to do. In an unfamiliar Airport many of your normal means of restaurant and store discovery often fail you, so where do you turn for that info. Well you could hunt down one of those colorful Maps/Directories and can point you in the right direction, but why spend the time looking for one of those.
GateGuru is your source for Airport Terminal information on restaurants, shops and services. It's basically like yelp but for Airports. GateGuru can help you find somewhere to get some good food or a place to buy a magazine or some snacks for the road. Anything your Airport terminal has to offer you can find it in GateGuru.
You can of course read and write reviews for any entry in the app. You can also rate the service using a five star system, which enables you know what restaurants provide a good product and which ones to avoid. GateGuru has also promised to add security wait times, as well as itinerary management tools in future updates. The app is available now in the App Store and it's free.
GateGuru App Store
Get 768 MB of Free Space From Dropbox for Social Network Connections
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 1:23 PM
Dropbox has got to be one of my favorite web application ever. It solves the problem of how to send large or multiple files to people as well as syncing files between different computers. It's great for so many reasons. One the reasons I like it so much is because you get 2GB of free space which is more than enough to render the service useful without having to pay for it. You can also earn up to 8GB of free space for sharing your Dropbox referral link with people. It's kind of like a game and you get rewards for getting people to sign up while you gain more storage space. I have 5.25 GB of free space which is more than enough to store some files and share with the family.
You can get 768 MB of free space by simply connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts and then posting a tweet and a Facebook status about why you love Dropbox. It's that simple, you can even remove the connections and the post after if you want to ensure Dropbox won't bother you. All you have to do is go here
and connect your accounts. e
Amazon Price Check iPhone App - Search Amazon using Text, Voice, Photos, and Barcodes
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 11:06 AM
Amazon is America's largest online retailer and has built a reputation for almost always having the lowest price on items. That being the case whenever I see something in a store I sometimes wonder what it goes for on Amazon. There are several ways you could go about doing that. The Amazon app has the ability to scan bar codes, take photos of products, and do a standard text search for items. All these methods of product discovery are great, but the Amazon app isn't geared toward price comparison.
The free iPhone app "Amazon Price Check" is however designed toward finding products fast and displaying the different prices available on Amazon. The Amazon Price Check app offers the same search options as the Amazon app but also offers the ability to do a voice search as well. The app also does a real time photo search unlike the other Amazon app which saves it for later review.
The app seemed to work just fine when I was testing it. The voice search works well, but the photo search didn't. When I took a picture of something it didn't return a result. When try the same photo in the regular Amazon app it did find the product, but it takes a few minutes for them to process it. All in all the app is very useful and will be very helpful in the up and coming holiday season.
Amazon Price Check
Apple iOS 4.2 Comes out Today! - Quick Feature Rundown
Monday, November 22, 2010 1:03 PM
The new iOS 4.2 is here! There are some great features coming to this version and here is a quick rundown of what iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad users can expect in the update.
iPhone and iPod Touch (except original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch)
For iPhone and iPod Touch users, you get three main features with the iOS 4.2 update: Airplay, Airprint, and Find my iPhone. First Airplay is a great feature that allows you to stream music, video and pictures to your TV using the new Apple TV.
The new Airprint feature allows you to print directly and wirelessly to a handful of HP ePrint printers. The feature that allows you to print to prints connected to a Mac or PC has been left out in this update, no word from Apple as to why, but I'm sure they will add it at some point. For now you can try
if you really want it now. A application that runs in the fast-app switching strip keeps track of your print jobs.
Last but not least Apple has made the Find my iPhone feature available to everyone. Allowing people to subscribe to Apple's MobileMe service for free. The free membership only offers the find my iPhone feature, for full membership benefits you still have to pay the $99 a year fee.
iPad's New Features
The iPad also gets Airplay, Airprint, and the find my iPhone feature, but bigger than that they finally get the full set of iOS 4.0 features like Multitasking, folders, unified mail inbox, and fast-app switching. The iPad also gets a very useful feature, that I would love to have on the iPhone, a brightness slider in the fast-app switcher menu.
This feature have been available on the iPhone and iPod Touch for the last 5 months, and the iPad that was announced 2 months before the announcement of iOS 4.0 has been lagging behind ever since. The features are great for the iPhone an Touch but are going to be awesome on the iPad. It's about time the iPad makes it's way to iOS 4. The update is live so what are you waiting for? Go and get it!
Netflix Now Offers Instant Watch Only Streaming Plan
Monday, November 22, 2010 12:46 PM
I wrote a post last month about the possibility of Netflix offering a
instant watch only plan
after their Canada release and it's finally here. You can not get a Netflix instant watch only subscription for $7.99 month. That's not the only thing Netflix has changed. With the addition of the new instant only subscription Netflix has actually increased their subscription prices.
I can't say I'm happy about that one, because now the DVD plans are starting to feel like a commitment rather than negligible expenditure. The prices on Netflix have been creeping up with the popularity of the service, and even though I feel the value is there I still hate to see the prices go up.
The table to the left here shows the price increase and you can see that the plans have increased price from $1-$8 a month depending on your plan of course.
Seems Netflix might just be trying to push people to streaming since Netflix has made it clear that it's where they want to be in the future. As the price of postage goes up Netflix's profits shrink so I can see the reasons for the increase and the interest in increasing their instant watch offerings.
Grove Costume iPhone 4 Bamboo Cases - Create your own design
Friday, November 19, 2010 12:56 PM
The first thing I do when I get a new iPhone is find a new case for it. Some people like to roll without one, but I think it's a necessity especially when it comes to reselling your iPhone to purchase the next one ;) . Anyway the average case costs you about $30-$40 bucks anyway, so why not spend a little more and get an awesome hand made from bamboo from Grove?
These cases are super original looking and feature some really cool art on the back. If you, yourself have a design you want of your bamboo iPhone case Grove can do that too. Simple choose the create your own design option and upload your graphic.
These cases are a little bit more expensive than a traditional case, but completely worth it in the end. They run about $89, but they also run a
design of the week
which is $20 off so you can get a great deal if you like the featured design.
You really need to visit their website to check these things out, they are truly a really cool product.
Grove bamboo iPhone 4 Cases $89
LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 comes to iOS - $4.99
Friday, November 19, 2010 12:15 PM
I am a huge fan of Traveller's Tales' Lego games. They are hugely fun to play and I have played every single one of them. Each Lego game is better than the last and it's great for any age and skill level. Now you can enjoy the Lego game play right on your iOS device.
LEGO Harry Potter for iOS is according to Kotaku " is a surprisingly deep, surprisingly detailed experience, one that strives to deliver the same level of fun found on the fantastic console versions of the game, it seems." From what i have seen of the game and read of the reviews that's true and is a great deal for $4.99.
Just like the console and PC versions of the game you play as the different Harry Potter characters while playing through the story of the first four movies. You move around by double tapping a spot on the screen or dragging your finger. You can zap objects by swiping your finger and use the wingardium leviosa spell by circling an object that you can levitate or build. There are of course other spells that you can learn as you make your way through Hogwarts. You can also customize your minifig for gameplay just like the console version of the game.
LEGO Harry Potter is out for iPhone and iPod Touch and will be out for the iPad once they update to iOS 4.1. The game play will most definitely be better on the iPad due to the finger dragging navigation. Many people are asking for a joystick for the game, simply because dragging your finger on the screen simply isn't as comfortable. All in all this game is great and according to Kotaku "early impressions seem to indicate that this could be one of the best games currently on the platform." I couldn't agree more!
LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4
@ App Store $4.99
Coolest iPod Nano Watch Hands Down! TikTok and LunaTik by Minimal
Friday, November 19, 2010 10:53 AM
Ever since the new iPod Nano everyone has had the idea to turn it into a watch. Steve Jobs even mentioned that it would make a good watch and the idea has been spreading across the internet ever since. There have been a couple iPod nano watches that have made their way to market, but none as well deigned as these two.
These two designs the TikTok and LunaTik come to use from Scott Wilson, founder of Chicago-based design firm Minimal. The TikTok allows you to simply clip your Nano into the watch band and is designed for people who want to use their Nano as a watch sometimes. For those of you who want to use your Nano as a Watch most of the time there's the beautiful LunaTik model featuring Aerospace Grade Aluminum body that secures the Nano to the watch band.
Both designs are beautiful and reflect the aesthetic of Apple and the Nano itself. The designs are not in production just yet. The company is asking for people to pledge to purchase either model. You can pledge $25 for the TikTok or $50 for the LunaTik which is a pre-order for the product. The two watch bands will sell for $35 and $65 respectively when they make it to retail locations, so by pledging to purchase the item you are getting a discount.
TikTok and LunaTik Pledge Page
Update December 3, 2010 11:55 AM
The watches are now in production. The designer has received a huge response from individuals who want to see the product succeeded and make it to production. The designed needed $15,000 to start production and they received $500,499 in just 15 days! Crazy looks like they will be making their way to stores very soon.
Is the Cloud the Future of Video Games?
Thursday, November 18, 2010 2:14 PM
It seems now a days everything is headed to the cloud. We have music that is no longer bought by streamed using Pandora, rhapsody, and spottily. We have movies and TV shows that instead of going off and picking up the DVD are streamed using Netflix or Hulu. Could video games the the next big thing?
Well it seems OnLive definitely thinks so. OnLive offers video games that you basically stream to your computer from their servers. No downloads, no installing, no expensive hardware needed. All you have to do is install the OnLive application, purchase a game and your off.
I know what you are thinking, because I thought the same thing. What kind of games are we talking about because simple flash and Indie games just aren't going to cut it. OnLive actually has a pretty impressive game library with games like Borderland, Assassins Creed Brotherhood, and other of the like. I know I don't know how they do it either. It seems impossible to stream a game like borderlands of the internet, but OnLive claims their game compression technology has eliminated lag and game control delay over the internet.
OnLive has also released a device that connects to your TV that allows you to play game right on your TV. The little device connects to the internet and has a wireless controller that you use to pay games online. The device is available for $99 and can be pre-ordered now and ships december 2nd. You also get a free game with your purchase.
So as I see it there are some definite advantages to use cloud based video games. There are also some negative things as well. I just wonder where this sort of thing is going to come in in the future. Are we all going to consume video games in this way, or is it one of those things that will never truly take off?
The best part about OnLive cloud gaming is the fact you don't need expensive and up to date hardware to play the games.
All you need is a Mac or PC 3Mbps - 5Mbps internet connection and the OnLive software.
The OnLive servers does most of the heavy lifting so your computer doesn't have to.
Some game like, Assassins Creed Brotherhood, are actually cheaper than the retail hard copy.
I think the biggest con of cloud gaming is the dependance on the internet. If you don't have internet you can't play.
If the OnLive servers are running slow your game play will be effected. With Console gaming you don't' need the internet to play the main portion of the game.
You don't own anything and if OnLive were to go under all your games would be gone.
Game performance and video quality would be a concern.
Most games are just as expensive if not more expensive than their retail counterpart. If I pay full price for a game I want to play it with the best graphics and performance as possible.
Apple TV iOS Jailbreak almost ready! The future of the device
Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:22 PM
Apple TV has been a hobby device since it's release in march of 2006. It never was that popular, and most of it's attention was given to what you could do to the device that you weren't supposed to. Like installing alternative software and making it run other media centers like Boxee and XBMC.
After the new Apple TV's launched this September 2010 people have been racing to jailbreak the device. Firecore has already cracked the code with their aTV Flash (black) software suite. Two applications in the suite are nearly complete couch surfer and Last.fm. Couch surfer is a simple web browser that lets you navigate the web on your device, and Last.fm is of course a popular web radio application.
This is the same road that the previous Apple TV went down and due to the change in architecture and OS change to the iOS it begs the question, is Apple going to develop an App Store or are we just going to have to make our own. If Apple TV got something like the jailbreak iPhone app store Cydia there's no telling what could be done with the device.
What about Airplay? Apple has already told us they are enabling Airplay for the iPad, which lets you stream video to your TV through your Apple TV via your iPad. Why not enable that on all iOS devices and then use the streaming device as the controller. Gizmodo did it using an TV connected iPad and iPhone as the controller. Seems like a lot of fun to me, all your iOS games on your TV, with a motion and multi-touch controller!
I can only image this is where the Apple TV is headed. There will be at some point a app store for Apple TV and I believe some kind of iOS device streaming/controller integration. It only makes sense and if Apple doesn't do it someone will create a hacked version. This is what I predict and hope for the future of the little black box.
Youtube Social - Watch videos with people with live chat
Thursday, November 18, 2010 11:05 AM
YouTube is great and has some great content, enough to keep you busy for a lifetime, so it's understandable when your friend and family haven't seen that funny or unbelievable video from YouTube. Now with YouTube Social you can share and watch videos with your friends and family at the same time.
The service works by creating a viewing area that's combined with a chat window. The host finds videos you want to watch from YouTube using the built in search. You can then invite people to view the videos via tiny url or Facebook. Then all you have to do is play the videos for everyone to watch. The video is synced and is started at the same time so everyone is watching it in real time.
A great feature of YouTube social is that you can simply add the word "social" to a YouTube URL to start a social sharing session. For example this URL youtube.com/watch?v=5_sfnQDr1-o of the Baby Monkey video could be shared using YouTube social by changing the URL to youtube
.com/watch?v=5_sfnQDr1-o. YouTube Social also allows you to make a video playlists letting you queue up videos for the group to watch.
Over all the service is pretty handy, the only downside is that in order to take full advantage of it you have to use Facebook. Other than the dependence on the Facebook integration it's pretty cool. Check it out.
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